The Exercise Physiology degree program designed to prepare students for several professional avenues. Health and Fitness practitioners work in environments such as fitness facilities and community centers/organizations. Strength and conditioning specialists work with athletes for performance enhancement on professional, intercollegiate, or secondary school athletic programs. Clinical physiologists facilitate medically supervised exercise programs for persons with chronic disease including cardiovascular or pulmonary disease. Graduates from the Exercise Physiology program have also gone on to pursue terminal doctoral degrees in the exercise sciences or used the master’s program as a launching point for admission into post-graduate allied health professions such as physician assistant, physical therapists, and medical school.

The Graduate Exercise Physiology degree program takes about two years to complete. Each student in the program is required to complete a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours, which include:

  • required core (9 hours)
  • required courses (9 hours)
  • elective courses (6-9 hours)
  • One of two capstone research experiences, Plan A or Plan B

Credit hours in the electives vary depending on whether a Plan A thesis (6 credits) or Plan B research study (3 credits) is selected.

Admission Requirements, Retention & Termination Standards

Admission Requirements

The department reviews all applications and submitted documents in making a determination on admission and makes such recommendations to the College of Graduate Studies.

  1. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate overall grade point average of 3.0. Applicants who possess an undergraduate GPA less than 3.0 may be considered for conditional admission.
  2. Applicants must have completed at least one course in exercise physiology (CMU equivalent: HSC 308).
  3. Applicants must submit general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores.
  4. International applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate their English language competency using one of the methods outlined by the College of Graduate Studies. 
  5. Applicants must submit an application, submit transcripts from all academic institutions attended, and submit two reference letters.

Retention Requirements:

  1. Students must achieve a 3.00 GPA to graduate and may not have more than two C or C+ grades in required classes to graduate.
  2. Students who may be admitted conditionally must demonstrate during the first semester that can achieve a 3.00 GPA. Grades of C- or less do not count for graduation.
  3. Students who do not maintain a 3.00 GPA or who have more than two C or C+ grades in required classes may be placed on academic probation. Continued academic probation in multiple terms may be considered in determining whether a student will be allowed to continue in the program.
  4. Students will be allowed to repeat a course no more than two times in order to improve the grade.
To be assured full consideration for admittance, all application materials must be received by April 1 for the following fall semester.

Program Requirements

Required Core (9hours)

​Emphasis placed on advanced cardiopulmonary system regulation at rest and during acute exercise. Additional content will include adaptation to chronic exercise and aspects of disease. 

Credits 3(3-0) 

Contact Hours (3-0) 

Course Syllabus

​Graduate course on the control and coordination of human movement with an emphasis on the plasticity and adaptability of the neuromuscular system to exercise. 

Credits 3(3-0) 

Contact Hours (3-0) 

Course Syllabus

​Examine basic fundamentals of research design related to statistical analysis, interpretation and writing essential for conducting and interpreting health, sort and exercise related research. 

Credits 3(3-0) 

Contact Hours (3-0) 

Course Syllabus

Required Courses (9 hours)

This course focuses on understanding the morphology, histology, and mechanics of tissue in relation to biomechanics. Common experimental techniques in biomechanics will also be discussed. Pre-requisite: HSC 633. 

Credits 3(3-0) 

Contact Hours (3-0) 

Course Syllabus

​Understanding the integration and application of topics in advanced exercise physiology. Prerequisites: HSC 632, 633, 634, 635, 638. 

Credits 3(2-2) 

Contact Hours (2-2) 

Course Syllabus

Understanding the role of hormones in relation to physiological responses to exercise. Responses of these hormones in both normal and disease states will be discussed. 

Credits 3(3-0) 

Contact Hours (3-0) 

Course Syllabus

Research Requirements (3-6 hours) Select either Plan A (Thesis) or Plan B (Directed Research):

Complete a thesis directed by a committee in conformity with university's thesis guidelines. CR/NC only. Pre-requisite: HSC 634 or 670; permission of thesis supervisor. 

Credits 1-6(Spec) 

Contact Hours (Spec) 

Course Syllabus

​Directed research on advanced topics in Exercise Physiology, which will culminate in individual research or a creative endeavor presented as a Plan B project. CR/NC only. Prerequisites: HSC 632, 633, 634. 

Credits 1-6(Spec) 

Contact Hours (Spec) 

Course Syllabus

Electives (6-9 hours)

​Select hours in consultation with an advisor. A student must have a minimum grade of C in each elective course.

Total: 30 semester hours

Research Opportunities and Assistantships

Outstanding students are encouraged to apply for a graduate assistantship. A full-time graduate teaching assistant is assigned a teaching load, research and/or teaching support, or an equivalent that can total no more than 20 hours per week. Assistantships offer teaching opportunities in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, clinical exercise physiology, and health fitness classes.

The exercise physiology program also boasts a number of state-of-the-art research facilities including the Motion Analysis Center (MAC), the Exercise Science Biochemistry Laboratory, the Human Performance Laboratory, and the Environmental and Therapeutic Modality Laboratory.

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Inquiries regarding the M.S. in Exercise Physiology at CMU should be addressed to:

Graduate Program Director
Naveen Sharma, Ph.D.
School of Health Sciences
Exercise Science Division
Health Professions Building 1174
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859

Phone: 989-774-2927
Email: sharm2n@cmich.edu